July 07, 2009

Telephone Numbers of Karachi and Lahore successfully changed to 8 digits

Islamabad: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), has devised a comprehensive numbering plan to accommodate growing telephone users especially in the major cities of the country. As part of the plan, the fixed line numbers of PTCL, NTC as well as Wireless Local Loop (WLL) numbers of Karachi and Lahore has successfully been changed from 7 digits to 8 digits.

According to details, the digit â??3â? was added to all the existing seven-digit telephone numbers of Karachi and Lahore except the numbers starting from â??9â?, while the digit â??9â? was added to all the existing numbers starting from â??9â?.  At present both old and new numbers can be dialed for a period of three months in parallel operation, however only new numbers would be dialable after three months.  PTA has been conducting successful tests and trials since last month to implement successful launch and to make sure consumers donâ??t get effected due to the change.

A parallel operation of old and new numbers will remain in action, from July 1 to Sep 30, 2009, that means subscribers would be able to dial old as well as new numbers. From October 1, old numbers cannot be dialed and announcements for the addition of one digit before any dialed number of Lahore and Karachi will start working for users.

It may be mentioned that  â??National Numbering Plan 2008â? was prepared  by PTA with extensive research and inputs of technical experts. The said plan was circulated to the industry for consultation and after receiving comments from all stake holders, PTA finalized the plan. It took more than one year and heavy consultation was also involved with all the stakeholders.

Moreover, 7 to 8 Digits Fixed Number Migration Plan will be implemented in a phased manner all over the country. In Phase-1, FLL and WLL operators in Karachi and Lahore will migrate from 7 digits to 8 digits dialling format. This would create capacity for current and future expansion as these two cities have reached a level where migration is essential to cater for smooth growth in subscriber base of various operators. In the Phas-2 (after 1-2 years) other major cities would be shifted, while in the Third Phase the rest of the country would be shifted in 3-4 years time period.


Khurram A.Mehran

Director (PR)